ABC Cancels Soap Operas, Hates Us All

Okay, the news that ABC is canceling One Life To Live and All My Children is not a stunning surprise. It’s been a nearly-confirmed rumour for a few weeks. But look what they’re replacing them with:

ABC will debut two new daytime programs this fall and winter: “The Chew,” a program about food news and trends, and “The Revolution,” about health and lifestyle transformations.

That’s just cold. (And as others have pointed out, why do networks think that every lifestyle show in the daytime has to start with “The?” These are not Seinfeld episodes.) Removing two soap operas, among the most immersive and personally involving forms of broadcasting, and replacing them with the type of show that represents disposable, “watch when you’re home, forget it when you’re not” television. If they were bringing back game shows, I’d be jumping for joy, but this… well, there’s a place for this kind of show too, but it’s not all that exciting.

There will now be only four daytime soaps left on TV, and I wouldn’t bet on any of them lasting very long. The soap opera form couldn’t survive for reasons that have already been discussed: the decreasing number of housewives, the popularity of reality shows which are cheaper to make, the failure of Soapnet to catch on as a way of transferring the form to cable. But as I’ve also said many times, soaps have historically been in the forefront of TV, taking on issues that prime-time doesn’t get around to for years if not decades. And they do have a power to pull you in that a show can’t match with only 13 episodes a year (or even 22). So it’ll be a shame to see it go from North America, at least in English — telenovelas and téléromans seem to be a bit more robust.




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ABC Cancels Soap Operas, Hates Us All

  1. American soaps maybe dead but Corrie is 50 and going strong!

  2. American soaps maybe dead but Corrie is 50 and going strong!

    • Yeah – imagine the revolt if CBC pulled the plug on Corrie in Canada

  3. Good. Now they can get rid of the 'soaps' on at night as well.

  4. Good. Now they can get rid of the 'soaps' on at night as well.

    • Just like you, Emily, I'm way too smart and sophisticated for regular mainstream TV. I wish there were more intellectual shows on to watch.

      In fact, I'm so much better than everyone, I don't even own a TV anymore.

      • That's odd, you don't sound very intellectual.

  5. Yeah – imagine the revolt if CBC pulled the plug on Corrie in Canada

  6. Just like you, Emily, I'm way too smart and sophisticated for regular mainstream TV. I wish there were more intellectual shows on to watch.

    In fact, I'm so much better than everyone, I don't even own a TV anymore.

  7. That's odd, you don't sound very intellectual.

  8. Soap operas are for morons; there is several educational networks on now days, the history channel, PBS, nat geo and several others.

  9. Soap operas are for morons; there is several educational networks on now days, the history channel, PBS, nat geo and several others.

  10. This in awful. They want to put on all these new shows and do not care about the people that star in these soaps or the fans. They do not care about either one. They are money hungry and have no feelings.

    • Well yeah. Thats why its called show BUSINESS.

  11. This in awful. They want to put on all these new shows and do not care about the people that star in these soaps or the fans. They do not care about either one. They are money hungry and have no feelings.

  12. ABC is just looking for another venue to foist their cookie cutter Disney lolitas on the public.

  13. ABC is just looking for another venue to foist their cookie cutter Disney lolitas on the public.

  14. Wow, no more Erica Kane. Although here's the thing: my fond memories of soaps are from 1) summers at my Grandmother's house and 2) watching them for campy fun with friends in Uni. So I guess I won't miss Susan Lucci much after all. Still, it's the end of an era.

  15. Wow, no more Erica Kane. Although here's the thing: my fond memories of soaps are from 1) summers at my Grandmother's house and 2) watching them for campy fun with friends in Uni. So I guess I won't miss Susan Lucci much after all. Still, it's the end of an era.

  16. Oh yes, if only they were bringing back game shows. How I miss Sale of the Century.

    Nostalgia makes me want to kill myself… in a good way.

  17. I've watched both for 30+ yrs. Did they factor in all those who have to watch it on Ch. Soap Net? Aren't there enough cooking channels and shows available aready. Do we really need more.

  18. I've watched both for 30+ yrs. Did they factor in all those who have to watch it on Ch. Soap Net? Aren't there enough cooking channels and shows available aready. Do we really need more.

  19. Let's face facts. In the new digital world soap operas can't compete with the equally absurd story-lines being pushed (exploited?) by sites such as Huff Post, TMZ, etc., Simply put, inane banality has found a new outlet… & much like 'Ye Olde Town Cryer' the soaps have been supplanted… (p.s. nobody who's serious really cares!)

  20. Let's face facts. In the new digital world soap operas can't compete with the equally absurd story-lines being pushed (exploited?) by sites such as Huff Post, TMZ, etc., Simply put, inane banality has found a new outlet… & much like 'Ye Olde Town Cryer' the soaps have been supplanted… (p.s. nobody who's serious really cares!)

    • Gossip journalism has existed side by side with soap operas for years. Competition from those outlets isn't the reason why soap operas are failing. Britain has a long history of tabloid-style journalism, and the highest-rated shows there, Coronation Street and EastEnders, are both soap operas. Clearly, people are able to consume both types of storylines without either really suffering.

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